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From the Universal Orlando Resort Blog:
Many people have been waiting their entire lives to experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. After reading the books and watching the films, actually stepping foot into the stories is a phenomenal experience. This handy Wizarding World of Harry Potter guide will help you make the most of your experience at Universal Orlando Resort.
With Hogsmeade in Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Florida, there are two unique lands to explore. We’re listing out each and every activity you can enjoy during your next trip!
This Wizarding World of Harry Potter guide is organized by type of activity: attractions, experiences, food and drink, shopping, shows, and hidden gems.
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Hogsmeade
- Soar above the castle grounds as you join Harry Potter and his friends on an unforgettably thrilling adventure, coming face-to-face with an array of magical creatures.
- Pro Tip: Make sure to take your time in the queue for this one to appreciate all the details of the Hogwarts corridors including Dumbledore’s office, the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, the Gryffindor common room, and more.
Flight of the Hippogriff, Hogsmeade
- Bow to Buckbeak as you board this family-friendly roller coaster that spirals and dives around the pumpkin patch, and then swoops past Hagrid’s hut.
- Pro Tip: This ride is great for little witches and wizards who might be a bit spooked by Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey or Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.
Hogwarts Express: Hogsmeade Station, Hogsmeade
- Board the famous train and head towards King’s Cross Station in London. You’ll need a park-to-park ticket for this one.
- Pro Tip: The experience is completely different on the way back from King’s Cross Station to Hogsmeade (see below), so you’ll want to ride it twice.
Hogwarts Express: King’s Cross Station, Diagon Alley
- Enter King’s Cross Station and walk straight through a solid brick wall onto Platform 9 ¾ to board the Hogwarts Express. You’ll need a park-to-park ticket.
- Pro Tip: If you want to journey in Harry’s footsteps, do some shopping in Diagon Alley and then hop on the Hogwarts Express to start your next term!
Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, Diagon Alley (pictured)
- Take a journey through cavernous passageways that lead deep underground as you climb aboard this mind-blowing, multi-dimensional ride.
- Pro Tip: For those looking for a more intense ride, ask the attendant if they can accommodate you towards the back of the ride vehicle. However, all seats offer a thrilling adventure!
- Step inside this iconic shop and watch an Ollivanders wandkeeper go through the process of pairing a witch or wizard with just the right wand.
- Pro Tip: You might be the lucky witch or wizard chosen!
Cast spells with your interactive wand, Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley
- Look for medallions on the ground throughout Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley for opportunities to practice your magic. Simply follow the directions at your feet and look out for amazing surprises.
- Pro Tip: You’ll need an interactive wand for this one, and inside the box is a map telling you where all the spells are located.
Send a letter through Owl Post, Hogsmeade
- Here, you can mail a letter complete with a special Hogsmeade postmark.
- Pro Tip: This is a great way to let your friends and family know you’re thinking about them during your trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Meet the Hogwarts Express conductor, Hogsmeade
- Oftentimes you can find this jolly gentleman next to Hogsmeade Station near the front of Hogsmeade.
- Pro Tip: Take a photo with him to remember your Hogwarts Express journey.
View The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle, Hogsmeade
- On select nights, you can see some amazing projection mapping that transforms the castle in a dazzling display of lights, special effects and music.
- Pro Tip: Scope out the best view early in the day to make sure you know where you want to stand later.
Meet the Knight Bus conductor, Diagon Alley
- On the London embankment, you’ll find this three-storied bus and its amiable driver.
- Pro Tip: You can also chat up the shrunken head hanging over the steering wheel.
Get your moving photograph at Shutterbutton’s, Diagon Alley
- Create a portrait of yourself that actually moves and purchase a collectible photo album in commemoration.
- Pro Tip: Borrow props and costumes or bring your own!
Exchange your Muggle money at the Gringotts Money Exchange, Diagon Alley
- Have a conversation with the goblin behind the counter before trading your U.S. currency for Gringotts bank notes in $10 or $20 denominations.
- Pro Tip: The banknotes can be used for purchases within Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, and at select locations throughout Universal Orlando Resort.
- Diagon Alley, London, and Hogsmeade are transformed with festive décor and brilliant lighting during the holidays. Not only do shows incorporate some favorite holiday tunes, but look out for special treats and drinks! The atmosphere is simply brimming with excitement.
- Pro Tip: Plan some time to take in all the detail of the beautiful decorations.
FOOD & DRINK
Butterbeer, Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley (pictured)
- You simply can’t come to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and not try Butterbeer! This concoction is reminiscent of butterscotch and shortbread. Find it at many of the restaurants listed below and various snack stands throughout Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley.
- Pro Tip: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has six unique ways to enjoy that delicious Butterbeer flavor, so come with an empty stomach.
Three Broomsticks, Hogsmeade
- This cozy, snow-capped inn offers tasty British fare including Fish And Chips, Shepherd’s Pie, Cornish Pasties, Turkey Legs, and Fresh Vegetables. View a breakfast menu here and a lunch and dinner menu here.
- Pro Tip: Take some time to explore – you never know what you might find.
Hog’s Head, Hogsmeade
- This pub in the back of Three Broomsticks is the perfect place for a Butterbeer and Pumpkin Juice, along with domestic and imported beers, the pub’s exclusive Hog’s Head Brew, Gillywater (bottled water), specialty drinks, wine, spirits, and mixed drinks.
- Pro Tip: Pay attention to the stuffed hog’s head over the bar – it just might snarl at you.
Leaky Cauldron, Diagon Alley
- A small, grubby-looking pub and inn where you’ll find foods like Bangers and Mash, Fisherman’s Pie, Toad in the Hole, Ploughman’s Platter, and more. View a breakfast menu here and a lunch and dinner menu here.
- Pro Tip: This location is very popular among visitors at lunchtime, but the friendly attendants will make sure you have a great experience.
Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour, Diagon Alley
- Here, witches, wizards, and Muggles of every age can indulge in scoop and soft-serve ice-creams with fantastic flavours like Butterbeer, Granny Smith, Earl Grey and Lavender, Chocolate Chili, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Salted Caramel Blondie, Chocolate and Raspberry, and more.
- Pro Tip: Keep an open mind… some unusual flavors may surprisingly delight you!
Fountain of Fair Fortune, Diagon Alley
- Named for one of the fables in The Tales of Beedle the Bard, this location serves a variety of beers and other beverages (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic).
- Pro Tip: You can also get Butterbeer ice-cream here.
The Hopping Pot, Diagon Alley
- Nestled within Diagon Alley, you can cool off with a variety of delicious drinks at this walk-up counter.
- Pro Tip: This is a great place to grab a snack while watching a show in Carkitt Market.
- In search of the most essential wizarding item? Look through the thousands of boxes filled with wands waiting to choose their wizard.
- Pro Tip: There are many other variations of wands in addition to character wands
- The shelves of this legendary sweet shop are lined with all manner of colourful treats including Acid Pops, Cauldron Cakes, Fizzing Whizzbees, Chocolate Frogs, and Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans.
- Pro Tip: Every Chocolate Frog comes with a wizard trading card – collect them all!
Dervish and Banges, Hogsmeade
- From magical items like Sneakoscopes, Spectrespecs, and Omnioculars to Quidditch supplies like Quaffles, Golden Snitches, and brooms to Hogwarts clothing, journals, and stationary, this shop offers it all.
- Pro Tip: This is an ideal place to find accessories featuring the Hogwarts houses, so it’s a must-see.
Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods, Hogsmeade
- Peruse items taken from students who got on the wrong side of the school’s resident caretaker, Argus Filch. You’ll find Hogwarts t-shirts, shoulder bags, caps, scarves, house crest banners, and stationary; plus authentic movie prop replicas, clothing, toys and more.
- Pro Tip: Keep your eyes peeled for the Marauder’s Map and watch as inhabitants move about Hogwarts castle.
Owl Post, Hogsmeade
- Here, you’ll find correspondence materials like stationary, quills, seals, and ink.
- Pro Tip: You can even pick out your very own owl to take home.
Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, Diagon Alley
- This colourful emporium is the novelty joke shop run by identically ingenious prankster twins Fred and George Weasley. Shop for all manner of mischief such as magical jokes, tricks, and toys including Pygmy Puffs, U-No-Poo pills, Skiving Snackboxes, and Puking Pastilles, and much more.
- Pro Tip: Don’t miss the dazzling display of never-ending fireworks exploding at the ceiling.
Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions, Diagon Alley
- Build your wizarding wardrobe at this cheerfully appointed shop. Fashionable guests can buy authentic replicas of Hermione’s Yule Ball gown and Dumbledore’s robes. You’ll also find Hogwarts uniforms, ties, scarves, hats, sweaters, and cardigans as well as jewelry.
- Pro Tip: Model your potential purchase in front of the mirror and it just might talk back to you.
Borgin and Burkes, Diagon Alley
- This dark and dusty Knockturn Alley shop is infamous for shady patrons. As you walk among the dimly lit shelves and displays teeming with malevolent relics, you’ll find Death Eater masks, skulls, Harry Potter film costume replicas, apparel, accessories, jewelry, and collectibles.
- Pro Tip: Look (and listen) for the Vanishing Cabinet just like the one Draco Malfoy once used to sneak Death Eaters into Hogwarts.
Magical Menagerie, Diagon Alley
- Purchase a variety of plush toys including Crookshanks, Fang, Buckbeak, Fluffy, and Scabbers. Also available are Cornish pixies, ferrets, Pygmy Puffs, and an assortment of owls, including Pigwidgeon and Hedwig.
- Pro Tip: Try out your Parseltongue when you peek in at the snake in the window from outside the store.
Quality Quidditch Supplies, Diagon Alley
- This is the destination for everything you need to play the most popular sport in the wizarding world, including Quidditch sweaters, brooms, Golden Snitches, Bludgers, Bludger bats, Quaffles, and more.
- Pro Tip: You can even pledge your allegiance to professional teams like the Holyhead Harpies or the Chudley Cannons, Ireland or Bulgaria.
Sugarplum’s Sweet Shop, Diagon Alley
- Discover a wealth of wizarding treats – every nook is stocked with tasty temptations like Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans, Acid Pops, Exploding Bonbons, Pink Coconut Ice and more.
- Pro Tip: Feed Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans to unsuspecting friends and family and brace yourself as they just might end up with a flavor like earthworm or earwax.
Scribbulus, Diagon Alley
- Find all the authentic writing supplies a witch or wizard could need including ink and inkwells, feather quills, parchment, journals, envelopes, stationery sets, seals, bookmarks, and backpacks.
- Pro Tip: Everything here is perfect for back-to-school or your office.
Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment, Diagon Alley (pictured)
- Browse a variety of wizarding wares and essential supplies including crystal balls, telescopes, compasses, crystal phials, and hourglasses plus apparel and accessories from your Hogwarts house.
- Pro Tip: You can have packages delivered to the front of the park or your Universal Orlando hotel room so that you don’t have to carry them all day.
Wands by Gregorovitch, Diagon Alley
- This long-time rival to Ollivanders also creates some exceptional wands. Here, you can choose from a wide assortment of Harry Potter character wand replicas, and more.
- Pro Tip: Boxes with gold labels are interactive and will help you practice magic in-park.
Hogwarts Frog Choir, Hogsmeade
- Hear the vocal stylings of this small choir of Hogwarts students, accompanied by the smooth bass rumbles of their giant throaty frogs.
- Pro Tip: Look in your park map or on the official Universal Orlando app for times.
Triwizard Spirit Rally, Hogsmeade
- Cheer on the colourful procession of students from the legendary wizarding schools of Hogwarts, Beauxbatons, and Durmstrang as they lead the excitement for the Triwizard Tournament.
- Pro Tip: Stick around after the show for a potential meet-and-greet opportunity.
The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Diagon Alley
- Watch as adept players perform a trunk show using stylized scenic pieces, props, and puppetry. See them retell two famous tales of Beedle the Bard, a 15th-century author of wizarding fairytales, including The Fountain of Fair Fortune and The Tale of the Three Brothers.
- Pro Tip: This stage is right near The Hopping Pot (see above), so grab a snack and enjoy!
Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees, Diagon Alley (pictured)
- Sway and groove to the dulcet tones of wizarding world sensation, Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees. The swinging show features never-before-heard songs including “A Cauldron Full Of Hot, Strong Love,” “You Stole My Cauldron But You Can’t Have My Heart,” and “You Charmed The Heart Right Out Of Me.”
- Pro Tip: Dancing and singing along is allowed!
Call the Ministry of Magic, Diagon Alley (Pictured)
- Try entering the telephone booth in London and dialing 62442 (`MAGIC`) to see what you get connected to.
See 12 Grimmauld Place, Diagon Alley
- Keep an eye out for the Black family`s loyal house-elf, Keacher™ – you might just see him.
The Monster Book of Monsters, Hogsmeade
- A Book with Bite`- Stop inside Dervish and Banges to view this beastly required reading for Hogwarts students taking the Care of Magical Creatures class. It’s caged for a reason.
Be sure to keep an eye out on all the hidden gems inside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort.
So much to see and do! Where to, first? Tell us in the comments section below.